An alternative to the selfish person - the authors of the Science Article of the Year tell how the unleashing of climate change can be prevented
“The future can be made, if there is a will to act. We wanted to challenge ourselves to open-mindedly identify values and deeds resulting from values by which a good future can be built,” says Arto O. Salonen, Assistant Professor at the University of Eastern Finland.
In their article “Vauraus ja sivistys yltäkylläisyyden ajan jälkeen” (prosperity and education after a period of abundance) Salonen and the second author of the article, researcher Maria Joutsenvirta from the Aalto University's Sustainability in Business Research group, show how a good future can be realised. Let’s go to 2050.
By then, societies are supposed to be carbon-neutral. Salonen and Joutsenvirta believe that the Nordic welfare societies can be pioneers in the global sustainability challenge.
“It’s important to combine aspects of education, upbringing and economics to broaden understanding of what progress fundamentally means for welfare societies like Finland,” says Joutsenvirta.
In their article, the two point the way to progress, which avoids narrow financial definitions and opens a comprehensive view on aspiring to a good life.
The researchers challenged citizens and politicians to a dialogue about the future
Salonen actively participates in discussions about society. There is a reason for that.
“We are the last generation that can still prevent the unleashing of accelerating climate change. Ensuring good continuation motivates us every day to seek out solutions,” he explains.
The researchers are also challenging both citizens and politicians to engage in dialogue about the future.
“Discussion based on confrontation and argument depresses people and makes them anxious. To deal with these matters, society needs more collective spaces based on listening. It’s good that a culture of dialogue and discussion is being strengthened,” says Joutsenvirta.
An important and humane science text
The editors of Aikuiskasvatus thanked the authors for creating an image of society in which the individual can connect his/her own life to something greater than him/herself, and for seeking an alternative to the selfish homo economicus who is only interested in maximising his/her own material benefit.
The article was considered important in terms of its subject matter, humanely written and scientifically convincing. It carries convincing philosophical reflection. The honour of Science Article of the Year 2018 was awarded on 15 February in Helsinki.
PhD (Econ.) Maria Joutsenvirta
Salonen AO, Joutsenvirta M. Vauraus ja sivistys yltäkylläisyyden ajan jälkeen. Aikuiskasvatus 2/2018. In Finnish.